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72nd World Health Assembly 2019
i. The 72nd session of the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s World Health Assembly (WHA72) held in Geneva, Switzerland from May 20 to 28, 2019. The theme of this year is “Universal Health Coverage: Leaving no one behind”.
ii. WHO appointed four new goodwill ambassadors for promoting global health.
- Ellen Johnson Sirleaf – He was former President of Liberia.
- Cynthia Germanotaa – She is President of “Born This Way Foundation”
- Alisson Becker – He is goalkeeper of the Brazilian and Liverpool football team
- Natalia Loewe Becker – She is medical doctor and health advocate from Brazil………………………………….Click here to Read more
India ranked 43rd in competitiveness, Singapore topped the chart
In the 2019 edition of the IMD (Institute for Management Development) World Competitiveness Rankings, India has improved its rank by one place to rank 43rd most competitive economy in the world and Singapore topped the chart by toppling the US from the first position, now US ranked 3rd in the rankings. The improvement of India’s rank was the result of its robust economic growth, large labour force, and its huge market size.
i. Hong Kong SAR has ranked 2nd place as same as last year.
ii. Switzerland ranked 4th in the rankings as it move one place up from the last year.
iii. UAE first time entered into the top 5 rankings. Last year in 2018 UAE ranked 7th.
iv. Venezuela ranked last in the rankings due to high inflation, poor access to credit and weak economy.
Top 5 Countries
|2nd||Hong Kong SAR|
- The World Competitiveness Rankings was published by IMD Business School every year.
- The rankings first time published in 1989. It incorporates 235 indicators and ranked 63 countries every year.
India, Japan sign Tripartite Pact with Sri Lanka to develop “East Container Terminal” in the Port of Colombo
On May 28, 2019, India, Japan signed a Tripartite Pact with Sri Lanka to develop “East Container Terminal (ECT)” in the Port of Colombo. The Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) was signed in Colombo, Sri Lanka by Sri Lankan port minister Sagala Ratnayake, Indian high commissioner to Sri Lanka Taranjit Singh Sandhu and a Japanese representative.
i. As per the agreement, Sri Lanka Port Authority (SLPA) will hold a majority stake of 51% in the port development whereas Japan and India will hold a combined stake of 49%.
ii. The three governments have decided to execute the details at joint working group meetings and seek cooperation towards early commencement of work and operation of the terminal.
iii. The Colombo Port has attracted around $1.4 billion investment from China under the Belt and Road Initiative.
iv. Over 70% of India’s transshipment business is handled at Colombo ports and the deal is part of Memorandum of economic cooperation signed between India and Sri Lanka in 2017.
♦ Capital: Tokyo
♦ Currency: Japanese Yen
♦ Prime Minister: Shinzo Abe
About Sri Lanka:
♦ Capital: Colombo, Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte
♦ Currency: Sri Lankan Rupee
♦ Prime Minister: Ranil Wickremesinghe
BANKING & FINANCE
RBI has increased the transfer timings of RTGS from 4.30 pm to 6 pm
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has extended the time window of Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) for customer transactions from 4.30 pm to 6 pm. The move has been taken due to the increase in the number of transactions by 8% to Rs 1,335 crore in March 2019. There has been 12% rise in an aggregate amount of transactions, year-on-year, which amounted to Rs 1,255.51 crore. It will come into effect from June 1.
i. The Charges for transactions in RTGS from 1 pm to 6 pm shall be Rs 5 per outward transaction. After 6 pm, these charges will be Rs 10. There are NIL charges for transaction between 8 am to 11 am then from 11 am to 1 pm it charges Rs 2.
ii. The timing has been changed under Section 10 (2) read with Section 18 of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act 2007 (Act 51 of 2007).
♦ Supported by RBI, it is an online fund transfer system on a real-time basis. It was launched in 1985 but in India, it was introduced in 2004.
♦ Minimum amount to be transferred – Rs 2 lakh
♦ Maximum amount to be transferred – No limit
Indian Overseas Bank introduced “Bank on Wheels” for door-step banking facility
Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) has launched a mobile van facility named “Bank on Wheels” in 14 districts of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and the Vijayawada region of Andhra Pradesh to provide door-step banking facility, especially for senior citizens.
i. The van will be accompanied by banking correspondent with a micro ATM inside to take care of services such as account opening, enrollment of customers in Social Security Scheme, passbook printing, and other financial inclusion activities.
Related Points IOB:
♦ MD and CEO – R Subramaniakumar
♦ Headquarter – Chennai
♦ Tagline – Good people to grow with
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
GST Council constituted 2 sub-groups to examine legal, technical aspects of e-invoice for B2B sales
The GST Council has constituted two sub-groups to look into the policy and technical aspects of e-invoice generation by businesses. Electronic invoice or e-invoice has been proposed by the revenue department to curb goods and services tax (GST) evasion. A 13-member officers’ committee, comprising central and state tax officials has been set up to look into the feasibility of introducing the e-invoice system. The two sub-groups have been set up under the committee.
i. The one sub-group will examine the business process, policy and legal aspects for the generation of e-invoice and also suggest optional treatment for some sectors such as banking, telecom, tentative timeline for execution and phase-wise implementation.
ii. The other sub-group will recommend technical aspects for its roll-out by suggesting modes of generation, like app-based or mobile or SMS or offline and online, data security and system integration.
About GST Council:
It is the governing body of GST (Goods and Services Tax)having 33 members. It is chaired by the Union Finance Minister assisted with the finance minister of all the states of India. The GST council is responsible for any revision or enactment of rule or any rate changes of the goods and services in India As per Article 279A (4) of the Indian Constitution.
NSIC signs MoU with Ministry of MSME to expand its reach to facilitate MSMEs
The National Small Industries Corporation Limited (NSIC) inked Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) for the year 2019-20 to provide enhanced services.
i. The MoU was signed in the presence of National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC) Chairman-cum-Managing Director (CMD); Additional Secretary of MSME, Ram Mohan Mishra and MSME Secretary Arun Kumar Panda.
ii. It aimed at enhanced services by NSIC under its marketing, financial, technology and other support services schemes for MSMEs in the country.
Targets set by NSIC:
- To increase Revenue from Operation by 22% from Rs. 2540 crore in the year 2018-19 to 3100 crore in the year 2019-20.
- Growth of 32% in Profitability during the year 2019-20.
- To enhance its activities in the areas of imparting entrepreneurship and skill development training by targeting 45% growth in the number of trainees.
♦ Establishment: 1955
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
♦ Parent organization: Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises
♦ Departments: National Small Industries Corporation
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
US Government removed India and Switzerland from its currency monitoring list
US Government has removed India and Switzerland from its currency monitoring list. The monitoring list includes countries with potentially “questionable” foreign exchange policies and practices currency manipulation. It is prepared by the US Treasury Department and it urged the Asian nations to take necessary steps to avoid a “persistently weak currency”.
Countries with a current-account surplus equivalent to 2% of the Gross Domestic Product(GDP) are eligible for the list, according to modifications made in the new list, down from 3% earlier. Other thresholds include repeated intervention in the currency markets and a trade surplus with the US of at least $20 billion.
Reasons for removal:
i. In 2018, there was a decline in the scale and frequency of foreign exchange purchases in Switzerland and India. Neither Switzerland nor India met the criteria for having engaged in persistent, one-sided intervention in either the October 2018 report or the recent report. In its semi-annual report to US Congress on International Economic and Exchange Rate Policies, the Treasury Department removed India and Switzerland from the list.
ii. India had met one out of three criteria which was necessary for inclusion on the monitoring list – a significant bilateral surplus with the US for two consecutive reports.
i. At present, the list includes 9 countries. China, Japan, South Korea and Germany remained in the monitoring list for unfair foreign exchange maneuvering to gain export advantages. Italy, Ireland, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam were newly added into the list.
ii. India for the first time was placed by the US in its currency monitoring list of countries with potentially questionable foreign exchange policies in May 2018. As per the Report of October 2018, India had made improvements in this regard.
iii. The US treasury Department reported that India maintains ample reserves according to the International Monetary Fund(IMF) metrics for reserve adequacy.
♦ Capital: Washington, DC
♦ Currency: US Dollar
♦ President: Donald Trump
Saudi Arabia lifted export ban on Kerala fruits and vegetables
Saudi Arabia has lifted export ban on fruits and vegetables from Kerala. In June 2018, the ban was imposed due to the outbreak of Nipah virus.
i. Saudi Arabian authorities had communicated this information to the state in the second week of May and it has led to the commencement of direct exports from the 3 airports.
ii. Kozhikode airport exports 20 tonnes of fruits and vegetables per day worth $50,000 to various destinations in Saudi. Other 2 airports of Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram export the items to Dammam, Riyadh and Jeddah airports.
iii. The major items of export at present are mangoes such as Alphonso, Banganapalle, followed by banana and pineapple.
iv. Kerala exports around 150 tonnes of perishable commodities to Gulf countries. It alone exports 30-40 tonnes to Saudi Arabia.
About Saudi Arabia:
♦ Capital: Riyadh
♦ Currency: Saudi Riyal
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
India’s first all-woman crew flies Mi-17 V5 medium-lift helicopter
Three women officers of Indian Air Force were part of India’s first all-women crew to fly a medium-lift helicopter Mi-17 V5. Flight Lieutenant Parul Bhardwaj (Captain), Flying Officer Aman Nidhi (co-pilot) and Flight Lieutenant Hina Jaiswal (Flight Engineer) were three women IAF officers flew the chopper, which took off from a forward air base in South Western air command.
i. All three women officers flew a Mi-17 V5 helicopter for Battle Inoculation Training mission. Under this mission, the helicopter had taken off and landed from restricted areas at a forward airbase in South Western air command.
ii. Flight Lieutenant Parul Bhardwaj became the first woman pilot to fly the Mi-17 V5. Flight Lieutenant Hina Jaiswal became the first woman flight engineer of the IAF.
iii. Flying officer Aman Nidhi from Jharkhand also became the first woman IAF pilot from the state.
N Kumar, TNAU V-C, conferred with ‘Lifetime Recognition Award’ by the Confederation of Horticulture Association of India
On May 28, 2019, Professor N Kumar, Vice-Chancellor of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) was conferred with ‘Lifetime Recognition Award’ by the Confederation of Horticulture Association of India (CHAI). He was awarded for his contributions to the field of horticulture and academic leadership focused on human resource development in agriculture.
i. It was presented to him at the International Conference on Innovative horticulture held at Pantnagar, Uttarakhand,
ii. He began his career as Assistant Professor in Horticulture in 1979 at TNAU. He served as the Dean of Horticultural College and Research Institute, TNAU from 2009-2013 and became the 13th Vice-Chancellor of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore.
iii. He was also a part of an accreditation team of Indian Council for Agriculture Research (ICAR).
About Tamil Nadu Agricultural University(TNAU):
♦ Location: Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
♦ Founded: 1906
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
BJP leader Pema Khandu sworn-in as the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh for a second term
On May 29, 2019, Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) leader Pema Khandu was sworn-in as the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh for a second term. Governor Brig(Retd) B D Mishra with 11 Cabinet Ministers administered the oath-taking ceremony at the Dorjee Khandu Convention Centre, Itanagar. He becomes the 10th Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh.
i. He had secured 41 seats in the 60-member Assembly in the elections held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha elections on April 11, 2019. Congress won 4 seats and Bihar’s Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal-United (JDU) party won 7 seats.
ii. Chief Ministers of Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura and Meghalaya had attended the swearing in ceremony.
About Arunanchal Pradesh:
♦ Capital: Itanagar
♦ National Parks: Mouling National Park, Namdapha National Park
♦ Wildlife Sanctuaries: D’Ering Memorial (Lali) WLS, Dibang WLS, Eaglenest WLS, Itanagar WLS, Kamlang WLS, Kane WLS, Mehao WLS, Pakhui/ Pakke WLS, Sessa Orchid WLS, Tale Valley WLS
Naveen Patnaik sworn in as Odisha’s Chief Minister for the fifth term
On May 29, 2019, President of Biju Janata Dal, Naveen Patnaik, aged 72, was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Odisha for the fifth term. He is the longest-serving chief minister of the state. The oath-taking ceremony was administered by the Governor Prof. Ganeshi Lal at the Exhibition Ground in Bhubaneswar.
i. Along with the Chief Minister, 20 new councils of Ministers were also sworn in. There were 10 new members to the council including 2 women.
ii. He had secured 112 seats in the 146 Assembly Seats in the elections held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha elections. BJP won 23 seats and Congress won 9 seats.
iii. Naveen Patnaik had won from 2 Assembly seats namely Hinjili under the Aska Lok Sabha seat, South Odisha and Bijepur under Bargarh Lok Sabha, Western Odisha.
iv. Naveen Patnaik was first sworn in as the chief minister on March 5, 2000.
♦ Capital: Bhubaneswar
♦ National Parks: Bhitarkanika National Park, Simlipal National Park
♦ Dance forms: Odissi, Chhau, Gotipua, Danda Nata, Sambapuri, Dalkhai, Chaitighoda, and Medha Nacha
♦ Wildlife Sanctuaries: Badrama WLS, Chandaka Dampara WLS, Chilika (Nalaban) WLS, Debrigarh WLS, Karlapat WLS, Kotagarh WLS, Nandankanan WLS, Sunabeda WLS etc.
Scott Morrison sworn in as Australia’s Prime Minister
Scott Morrison from Liberal Party has sworn in as 30th Prime Minister of Australia after retaining the position in the country’s general election. Other members include Deputy PM Michael McCormack, Australia’s first Aboriginal federal cabinet minister, Ken Wyatt also sworn alongside with Scott Morrison at a ceremony in the Canberra. He replaced Malcolm Turnbull as chief of the ruling Liberal Party.
♦ Capital: Canberra
♦ Currency: Australian Dollar
Muhammadu Buhari sworn in as the president of Nigeria for the second term
Nigerian incumbent president, Muhammadu Buhari (76), won his re-election bid against his rival Atiku Abubakar of Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) by over 3 million votes.
i. He belongs to All Progressives Congress (APC) Party. He won 56% of the votes cast. He was in power since 2015.
ii. He earlier served as the army general who led a tough military government in the 1980s.
iii. Yemi Osinbajo was also sworn in as Vice President of Nigeria.
♦ Capital: Abuja
♦ Currency: Nigerian naira
Ambassador of India to Madagascar Abhay Kumar, concurrently accredited as the next Ambassador of India to the Union of the Comoros
Ambassador of India to Madagascar, Abhay Kumar(IFS-2003), has been concurrently accredited as the next Ambassador of India to the Union of Comoros.
i. Comoros a strategically located country in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Africa is also a member of OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation).
ii. Comoros has ratified International Solar Alliance (ISA) treaty in the year 2017.
♦ Capital: Moroni
♦ Currency: Comorian franc
Spain’s former monarch Juan Carlos I to retire from public life on June 2, 2019
5 years after the abdication of the throne, Spanish former monarch Juan Carlos I, aged 81, will be retiring from public life on June 2, 2019. This was mentioned in a letter addressed to his son King Felipe VI, the current monarch on Spanish royals’ website.
i. In 2018, he was honored in the Spanish Parliament.
ii. The day also coincided with the 40th anniversary of Spanish Constitution(Adopted in 1978), which marked Spain’s transition from dictatorship to democratic rule.
Independent director of IL&FS Units Venkataraman Janakiraman resigns
On May 24, 2019, the Independent Director of IL&FS (Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services) Securities Services Ltd (ISSL), Venkataraman Janakiraman resigned from the post citing personal reasons. He was also the head of the risk management committee at ISSL and served the concern for more than 10 years.
i. He has also resigned from the post of independent director of ISSL Settlement & Transaction Services Ltd.
ii. The resignation was submitted by him when the scrutiny of the roles of the compliance team and independent directors of the organization was undertaken.
iii. He was the former Managing Director of the State Bank of India.
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai
♦ Founded: 1987
For the first time, Seawater from Ice Age tucked in rocks discovered in Indian Ocean
Researchers from the University of Chicago, have discovered the remnants of seawater of the Ice Age from the rock formations in the middle of the Indian Ocean while exploring the limestone deposits that form the Maldives. It was published in the Journal Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta.
i. They were found using the ship JOIDES Resolution.
ii. The seawater from the ice age is back salty- much saltier than the normal water. It was found to be 20,000 years older.
iii. Scientists are interested in reconstructing the last Ice Age because the patterns that drove its circulation, climate and weather are different. Understanding these will help to know how the planet’s climate will react in the future.
About JOIDES Resolution (JR):
JOIDES stands for Joint Oceanographic Institutions for Deep Earth Sampling. The ship is particularly built for ocean science and drills into the ocean floor to collect and study core samples. It is a part of the International Ocean Discovery Program funded by the US National Science Foundation.
BOOKS & AUTHORS
Nabaneeta Dev Sen’s 1978 book on Naxal movement in Bengal published in English
Nabaneeta Dev Sen’s book on Naxal movement in West Bengal which was first published in Bengali in 1978, is published in English. It is translated from Bengali to English by Paulami Sengupta, Tias Basu and the author. It is published by Niyogi Books’ imprint Thornbird.
i. The book describes the conflicts between integrity and expediency and the important character of the novel is Anupam Roy, a newspaper columnist, commentator and an academician.
ii. Nabaneeta Dev Sen is an award-winning Indian poet, novelist and academic. She is the recipient of Padma Shri Award(2000), Sahitya Akademi Award(1999) and Kamal Kumari National Award(2004).
International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers celebrated on May 29
International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers was celebrated on May 29. This day was adopted by the UN General Assembly in its resolution 57/129. The theme for this year’ is “Protecting Civilians, Protecting Peace”.
i. The theme of 2019 marks the upcoming 20th anniversary when for the first time the Security Council explicitly mandated a peacekeeping mission (UNAMSIL- United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone) to protect civilians.
ii. The day was first celebrated on May 29, 1948 to pay tribute to the 3700 uniformed and civil personnel who lost their lives upholding peace.
iii. Ukraine is famous for its contribution to UN peacekeeping operations. Over 45,000 Ukrainians have served in the UN operations since 1991.
About United Nations:
♦ Headquarters: New York, USA
♦ Secretary General: António Guterres
Veer Savarkar Jayanti was observed on May 28
The birth anniversary of Veer Savarkar aka Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was observed on May 28 annually to commemorate the sacrifices made by him during the freedom struggle. He was born on May 28, 1883 in Bhagpur village near Nasik in Maharashtra. He was a freedom fighter who called 1857 revolt as the first war of independence.
About Veer Savarkar:
i. In 1923, he founded the word “Hindutva”.
ii.Veer Savarkar founded the two-nation theory in his book Hindutva calling Hindus and Muslims two separate nations. In 1937, Hindu Mahasabha passed it as a resolution.
iii. He had founded Abhinav Bharat Society (in Pune) and Free India Society (in London).
iv. He has written “Joseph Mazzini- Biography and Politics”. He has published “The Indian War of Independence” about Indian rebellion of 1857. He also founded the two-nation theory in his book “Hindutva” calling Hindus and Muslims two separate nations.
v. He was sentenced to 50 years and was sent to the Cellular Jail in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in 1911. He was released in 1921. In 2002, in his honour, airport at Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar’s capital was renamed as Veer Savarkar International Airport.
May 28 observed as World Hunger Day
The 9th annual World Hunger Day was observed on May 28, 2019, with a theme of “#SustainabilityIs”. World Hunger Day is an initiative by The Hunger Project, first started in 2011. The objective is to raise awareness about more than 821 million people living in chronic hunger worldwide. It seeks to celebrate sustainable solutions to hunger and poverty and to inspire everyone to be a part of the solution.
i. The Hunger project used an innovative, holistic approach that tackles all the issues of poverty and hunger and also empowers those people who are living in hunger so that they can become the agents of their own development and lift their communities above the poverty line.
ii. Out of the total 821 million people living in chronic hunger, 60 percent of them are women.
iii. Out of the total undernourished people in the world, 98 percent of the world’s undernourished live in developing countries.
iv. Out of the total death worldwide, hunger kills more people than AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis combined.
About The Hunger Project
♦ Headquarter: New York, US
♦ CEO: Mary Ellen McNish
Former Samajwadi Party MP Kamlesh Balmiki found dead in Khurja, Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh
On May 27, 2019, Former Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bulandshahr MP (Member of Parliament), Kamlesh Balmiki was found dead under mysterious circumstances at his home in Khurja, Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh. His age was 51.
i. The Police suspected that it was a case of poisoning.
ii. He had won from Bulandshahr parliamentary constituency in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.
Veteran Artist Benu Mishra, passed away at the age of 80 in Guwahati
Veteran Artist Benu Mishra, passed away at the age of 80 in Kahilipara, Guwahati, Assam. He hailed from Barpeta district, Assam.
i. He was conferred with the Jivan Silpi Award in 2016.
ii. He earlier served as the senior art adviser and deputy director of state Directorate of Information and Public Relations.
iii. He was the founder president of Guwahati Artists’ Guild (formed in 1976).
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